Organization Practice: A Guide to Understanding Human Service Organizations

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Michael J. Managing the Challenges in Human Service Organizations: A Casebook offers current and aspiring human service managers a view into the kinds of experiences they will likely encounter to better prepare them for the world they are about to enter. The cases are inspired by real situations and are designed to encourage students to determine how they would act and work towards a resolution of the dilemmas presented.

Austin, M. Austin, Michael J. Austin, Michael J, et al.. SAGE Knowledge. Have you created a personal profile? Login or create a profile so that you can create alerts and save clips, playlists, and searches. Please log in from an authenticated institution or log into your member profile to access the email feature. View Copyright Page. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.

Austin, Ralph Brody, Thomas Packard. Human services—Management. Brody, Ralph. Packard, Thomas Roy. Case-based learning is like looking through a one-way mirror to observe the activities on the other side. It provides you with an opportunity to observe the actions of others, in order to speculate on how you might handle the same situations they face. Case-based learning places value on your own prior experiences and how they might inform your views of a case situation. In a similar way, if the case represents a new situation for you, then your learning is enhanced by engaging in a problem-solving process.

In essence, case-based learning is an interesting way to learn about managing the real-life challenges of human service organizations. This casebook also supplements the various textbooks in human service management by bringing theory to life. It can complement both classroom lectures and field-based internship learning.

It provides a tool for those of you who find learning to be more engaging when you are applying practice principles or concepts to real-life situations. Case-based learning builds upon your readiness to learn by providing you with the opportunity to analyze different organizational situations. The cases are designed to give you an opportunity to explore creative alternatives, as well as to engage your initiative in group-based problem solving. While some of these cases may seem overwhelming to some readers, they all are based on real-life organizational situations.

The cases reflect the realities of organizational life, from the specific details of single-issue cases, to the complexities of multi-issue cases in which it is challenging to identify relevant theories or practice principles. These cases also reflect real life with respect to the limited information available in a case. This limitation is similar to the reality of incomplete information in organizational situations that lack a documented history or specific details related to the problem.

However, cases are different in that you cannot go back and get more information before planning and acting. In a positive vein, cases are distinct from real life [Page x] in the sense that case analysis provides a safe place to be creative and take risks with no fear of negative consequences. Finally, while the real world rarely provides practitioners with opportunities to step back and reflect, case-based learning does provide these opportunities for you: to thoughtfully and carefully consider an organizational situation in all its richness, to consciously apply theory or engage in evidence-informed practice, and to assess your own learning about human services management.

Case-based learning also provides you with a way of expanding your base of experience. By reading, discussing, and analyzing the case with a debriefing tool, you are adding to your understanding of the complexities of agency management, as well as testing your analytic and interactional skills by engaging in shared problem solving with peers. The debriefing of a case also creates learning opportunities for you and your peers with regard to refining teamwork skills as you collectively engage in the process of considering and incorporating the views of others.

Team facilitation and leadership are often seen by experienced administrators as an essential skill set for effective agency management. In a similar way, you can enhance your advocacy and critical thinking skills as a result of discussing various approaches to case-based problem solving. In essence, case-based learning can enhance some of your core management skills as you work with others to identify alternatives to complex organizational and interpersonal situations. Case-based learning has value beyond its use as a classroom exercise, especially when instructors select only a few of the cases in this book for use in a course.

For example, you could read the entire casebook using a critical self-assessment perspective. In this situation, you could develop a list of issues, skills, and questions that represent the most important learning issues for your current stage of development as a manager. This list could form the basis of: 1 questions you raise in class, 2 questions you explore with your fieldwork instructor, and 3 questions you wish to address through more focused reading related to a term paper.

Such a paper might be included in a management course, but it could also be a feature of a human behavior and social environment course in which you could explore theories that might inform the management practices that you found most challenging. This list could also be used to link management issues to the art and science of policy implementation when studying the development and implementation of social policies. Given the limited range of experiences that are possible in such an internship, the broad-ranging issues in the casebook can serve as valuable discussion topics within the traditional weekly or biweekly supervisory meetings between you and your field instructor.

The cases may represent situations that do not exist in your current fieldwork agency but might appear in other agencies.

Organization Practice: A Guide to Understanding Human Service Organizations

These discussions can complement the hands-on nature of more narrowly focused fieldwork assignments. In essence, the breadth and depth of case-based learning reflected in this casebook can provide you with fewer surprises as you enter management practice. The two primary co-editors Austin and Packard offer many years of management experience, ranging from executive positions in not-for-profit organizations to program evaluation and organization development in local government and the deanship of a school of social work. We both have teaching experience at the graduate and undergraduate levels.

We each keep one of our feet off-campus through active consulting practices that inform our teaching. This helps to keep our teaching real and credible, as we are able to assess the extent to which our teaching does, in fact, adequately address current organizational life and the challenges facing practicing administrators. We both receive student feedback each semester about the relevance of our teaching and about the call for more case examples.

As students ask for examples of the application of theories and principles, we continuously learn from them about their perspectives and concerns and how well we are responding. Life-long learning is a central feature of our careers, and case-based teaching is an essential part of our teaching-management practice. Before exploring the cases themselves, we encourage you to review the first two chapters that are designed to help you maximize your experiences in working with the cases.

Chapter 1 reviews some of the uses and benefits of case-based learning and presents several conceptual frameworks for use in analyzing and responding to cases. Chapter 2 describes the process of case assessment and debriefing, and provides several debriefing tools. This chapter also includes a discussion of the casebook's structure and how the cases were organized into different categories that also relate to the features of various textbooks on human service management. This approach should help you and your instructor make the best use of the various cases.

Case-based learning provides an opportunity for students and instructors to learn and grow together. This casebook's development has been a learning opportunity for us, and we are eager to hear from those who use these cases in terms of what worked, what did not work, [Page xii] or what should have been included.

The future updating of this casebook will benefit greatly from new cases developed by the students and faculty who use this casebook. We also hope that instructors will share with us their approaches to case-based teaching so that these can be included in future editions.

We hope that the learning experiences will enrich all those who participate and will help prepare the next generation of human services managers to successfully anticipate and address the organizational challenges that they will face in the years to come. We have many people to thank for their contributions to this casebook. Russ Kaye, Dr. Murali Nair, J.

Tom Packard acknowledges the valuable assistance of Jacquelyn Sorenson, Kay Traube, Dorothy Melia, and David Thomas for sharing their agency experiences and helping in the development of cases. He also has appreciated his Administration students who have enriched his teaching and learning through their participation in stimulating case discussions in classes over the last 20 years.

Mike Austin greatly values the contributions of his management and planning MSW students at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Social Welfare, for assisting with the development and field-testing of many of these cases over the past decade—especially Jennette Claassen and Amy Benton, who helped to organize and assist with the selection of many of the cases, and Sharon Ikami, who helped prepare the manuscript for publication.

We also want to acknowledge the substantial assistance we received from our SAGE editor, Kassie Graves, who brought together the editors when she discovered that we Mike Austin and Tom Packard were developing our manuscript at the same time that Ralph [Page xiv] Brody was completing his casebook. We very much appreciate the support and encouragement of Ralph's wife, Phyllis Brody, following Ralph's untimely passing in February We feel honored that she gave us permission to include his excellent work in order to develop a more comprehensive casebook.

We are also most grateful to those colleagues who agreed to include their previously published or unpublished cases in this collection. As we put this manuscript together, we learned so much from each other. We both have many years of classroom experience in preparing graduate social work students for careers in the administration of human service organizations.

By sharing our different classroom experiences, we were able to construct the conceptual framework for this casebook as well as further refine our approaches to the development of debriefing frameworks used to help students analyze cases and develop practice-oriented strategies for dealing with routine and complex situations.

We have reflected on our shared learning in articles being prepared for journal publication, which are identified in the reference section at the end of the casebook. We want to expand our collaborative process by inviting faculty and students to test these cases in the classroom as well as prepare new cases that we plan to include in future editions of this casebook. We hope you derive as much pleasure out of these cases as we did in developing and compiling them. We welcome your feedback. Over the past 38 years, he has authored 18 books, as well as numerous articles and research monographs.

He currently serves as staff director of the Bay Area Social Services consortium, which operates an executive development program, research response team, and policy implementation and promising practices program. He also serves as Director of the Mack Center on Nonprofit Management in the Human Services, which promotes knowledge development in the areas of organizational histories, executive think tank, leadership development, and mapping the knowledge base of nonprofit management.

He consults throughout the country in the areas of managerial team building, organizational restructuring, and strategic planning for nonprofit organizations with a special focus on Jewish communal organizations. Ralph Brody, PhD, was developing a casebook to accompany his best-selling textbook Effectively Managing Human Service Organizations when he passed away on February 8, As the book was in draft form, many cases were integrated into the current text with Michael J.

Austin and Thomas Packard. Prior to his death, Dr. Brody was on the faculty of Cleveland State University, where he taught social policy and social service administration. He also gave graduate courses on service delivery models at Case Western Reserve University. Previously, he served for 15 years as the executive director of the Federation for Community Planning, an organization that provides research, planning, and advocacy on health [Page ] and human services.

Brody authored books on case management, the state legislative process, fundraising events, community problem solving, service learning, and macro practice. He also produced documentaries on supervision and drug-free zones and chaired the Options Committee, which successfully planned and advocated for additional public funding for services for older persons in the greater Cleveland area.

Brody's many years as a manager and teacher convinced him that the issues facing those in human service organizations were universal and applied to boards of directors as well as NGOs. He dedicated himself to developing tools to enhance the understanding and skills of those in leadership roles, from Cleveland to India, Spain, Ghana, Ethiopia, Egypt and Nigeria. His frequent workshops in Kenya led to the translation of his casebook into the Swahili language.

Brody's work touched millions, and his contributions will continue to educate, inform, and inspire future students and professionals in human services and human services administration. His teaching specialties are administration and social policy. His SACHS activities have included a leadership development initiative for county human service managers and research projects on subjects including services integration and cutback management. His other Academy projects have included program evaluations and consultations with county child welfare organizations. Prior to his teaching career, he served as the director of two not-for-profit human services organizations.

For more than 20 years, he has been an organization development consultant, specializing in government and not-for-profit organizations ranging in size from 10, to five employees. He earned his doctorate in social welfare at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he also studied at the Center for Quality of Working Life.

Evidence-Based Practice

His current research interests include organizational performance measurement and improvement, leadership, and organizational change. CQ Press Your definitive resource for politics, policy and people. Remember me? Back Institutional Login Please choose from an option shown below. Need help logging in? Click here. Don't have access? View purchasing options. Online ISBN: Online Publication Date: January 18, Print Purchase Options.

Key Features Simulates administrative dilemmas through cases that offer different aspects of agency administration and replicate aspects of actual practice Levels the learning field for students entering graduate human service management programs with different managerial experiences Orients students to the challenges of management by helping them develop mental models linked to the values of client-centered administration Helps students develop a beginning sense of Copy to Clipboard.

Case 3. For example, a general working definition used by the U. Department of Health and Human Services HHS in referring to a promising practice is defined as one with at least preliminary evidence of effectiveness in small-scale interventions or for which there is potential for generating data that will be useful for making decisions about taking the intervention to scale and generalizing the results to diverse populations and settings.

Since evidence of effectiveness, the potential for taking the intervention to scale and generalizing the results to other populations and settings are key factors for best practices, the manner in which a method or intervention becomes a best practice can take some time and effort. The table below demonstrates the process for a promising practice to achieve the status of research-validated best practice.

The National Registry of Evidence-Based Programs and Practices NREPP is a searchable online registry of interventions supporting substance abuse prevention and mental health treatment that has been reviewed and rated by independent reviewers. Minimum requirements include 1 demonstration of one or more positive outcomes among individuals, communities, or populations; 2 evidence of these outcomes has been demonstrated in at least one study using an experimental or quasi-experimental design; 3 the results of these studies have been published in a peer-reviewed journal or other professional publication, or documented in a comprehensive evaluation report; and 4 implementation materials, training and support resources, and quality assurance procedures have been developed and are ready for use by the public.

NREPP is not an exhaustive list of interventions and inclusion in the registry does not constitute an endorsement. There is existing controversy about the lack of culturally appropriate evidence-based best practices and the need to utilize a research-based approach to validate interventions. Some communities have deployed practices over a long period of time that has produced positive outcomes as well as a general community consensus to be successful.

Strategic Planning Workgroups composed of mental health providers and community members as well as consumers and family members are given the task of identifying new approaches toward reducing disparities. The five Strategic Planning Workgroups work to identify new service delivery approaches defined by multicultural communities for multicultural communities using community-defined evidence to improve outcomes and reduce disparities. It explores what clean air programs currently exist and how they are being financed.

Rather than stating one best practice to tackling clean air, this report creates a table of the different programs, how they are being financed, and in what state.


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Governors and their staffs can then look for characteristics and solutions that are most realistic and applicable to their situation. The key is to tailor current practices that are in the world to the specific situation you are looking to solve. Best practices are meant to give insight into existing strategies. The concept of best practice has been employed extensively in environmental management. For example, it has been employed in aquaculture such as recommending low-phosphorus feed ingredients, [16] in forestry to manage riparian buffer zones , [17] in livestock and pasture management to regulate stocking rates, [18] and in particular, best management practices have been important to improving water quality relating to nonpoint source pollution of fertilizers in agriculture [19] as well as the identification and adoption of best practice for controlling salinity.

Best management practice for complex problems is context specific and often contested against a background of imperfect knowledge. In these contexts, it is more useful to think of best management practice as an adaptive learning process rather than a fixed set of rules or guidelines. This approach to best practice focuses on fostering improvements in quality and promoting continuous learning. The NGA has identified science, technology, engineering, and mathematics STEM as important skills that need to be developed in community colleges in order to create a strong workforce. In order for these programs to work governors should:.

The Task Force recommendations are based on systematic reviews and assessment of the available medical evidence. Following an intensive literature search and consumer focus group, a Working Group composed of noted community leaders; activists, professionals, and transgender consumers participated in the development of the Best Practices guide. Topics covered by the Best Practices guide include mental health issues; gender identity; hormone use and clinical care practices. The Best Practices guide is currently in production; it will be published and distributed to EMA providers, as well as to select organizations nationwide.

In addition, four large-scale EMA provider training will be provided to educate providers on the Best Practices recommendations and standard measures. This is the first national federally funded effort to develop a Best Practices guide for providers who serve the HIV positive transgender community.

Steps are being taken in some parts of the world, for example in the European Union, where the Europe Strategy has as a top priority the exchange of good practices and networking including the nonprofit sector. An initiative of sharing good practices in terms of human resources HR and leadership among European nonprofit organizations was financed by the EU and launched in , called HR Twinning. Membership is free. The project is currently limited to a European audience. Nearly every industry and professional discipline discusses best practices.

Areas of note include information technology development such as new software, construction, transportation, business management, sustainable development and various aspects of project management. Best practices also occur in healthcare to deliver high-quality care that promotes best outcomes. Best practices are used within business areas including sales , manufacturing , teaching , computer programming , road construction , health care , insurance , telecommunication and public policy. There are some criticisms of the term "best practice".

Eugene Bardach claims that the work necessary to deem and practice the "best" is rarely done. Most of the time, one will find "good" practices or "smart" practices that offer insight into solutions that may or may not work for a given situation. Michael Quinn Patton jokes in his book about qualitative research and evaluation methods [28] "the only best practice in which I have complete confidence is avoiding the label 'best practice ' " and elaborates further.

The allure and seduction of best-practice thinking poisons genuine dialogue about both what we know and the limitations of what we know.

If You're a Student

Quinn proposes avoiding asking or entertaining the question "Which is best? He further suggests terms which "tend less toward overgeneralization" like better practices, effective practices, or promising practices. Scott Ambler challenges the assumptions that there can be a recommended practice that is best in all cases.


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Instead, he offers an alternative view, "contextual practice", in which the notion of what is "best" will vary with the context. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This section does not cite any sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. September Learn how and when to remove this template message. See also: Best management practice for water pollution. This section needs to be updated. Please update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information.

June New York: McGraw-Hill. Environment: Science and Policy for Sustainable Development. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Archived from the original PDF on Retrieved Archived from the original on 4 September Retrieved 5 May Archived from the original on 7 March Archived from the original on Federal Register, Vol.

Archived from the original on 15 November Archived from the original on 20 December Archived from the original on 14 December Retrieved 22 September Archived from the original on 15 August Retrieved on European Commission. Archived from the original on 22 June Retrieved 19 June Asociatia Young Initiative. Archived from the original on 13 June